I remember being a kid ~ back when Sunday afternoons included a slow relaxing drive in the country. Just the mention of a ride signaled a race to the driveway...each hoping for their favorite spot in the family truck. Dad would slide in behind the wheel and Mom would scoot over next to him. My brother and I would jump in the back...sometimes content to sit on the wheel hubs and other times letting our feet dangle from the tailgate. Dad would crank ole Blue and slowly make his way down the gravel lane. Bump, bump, bump...over the cattlegaurd, then onto the paved Farm to Market road. A left turn meant a short ride to town, but steering to the right meant a longer ride back thru the country. A right turn always brought a bigger smile! It meant more time to enjoy the wind blowing your hair and the sun warming your skin. It meant slowing down to wave at neighbors in their yards and stopping to look at newborn calves in the pasture. It meant singing songs, being silly and laughing out loud for no reason at all! It meant relaxing, rejuvenating, and reconnecting. I remember being a kid ~ and I smile.
Tonight, as the sun went down and the dark began to settle in, I found myself longing for the simple pleasure of a ride in the country. The events of the day weighed heavy on my shoulders, and the concerns of tomorrow rested heavy on my mind. I knew what I needed, so I grabbed my keys and headed to the driveway. I slid in behind the wheel of my car, cranked the engine, and backed onto the street. A turn to the left would land me in the middle of town, but turning to the right would lead me to open country roads. You guessed it ~ I turned to the right! Bump, bump, bump...over the railroad track and to the edge of town. The reflectors on the road were like beacons on a runway, lighting the way for my temporary escape. The dark pavement was like a welcome mat for my spinning wheels. As the windows slid down, the stereo cranked up. As the accelerator pressed downward, the speed steadily climbed upward. I sat back, took a deep breath, and allowed the music and the wind and the hum of the engine to lift me above the melancholy I had felt earlier in the evening. Breathing in the cool, crisp air began to clear my head and the breeze brushed the cares from my shoulders. I just kept driving, winding thru country roads and crossing narrow bridges. I encountered sparse traffic and absolutely no obstacles. It was smooth sailing over many miles before I knew it was time to turn around, gather my bearings, and find my way back home. All along my journey, I found myself singing songs, being free and laughing out loud for no reason at all!